JACL Reaffirms Right to Reproductive Freedom
On Monday, May 2nd, 2022, an initial draft of a supreme court opinion authored by Justice Alito that would strike down the Roe vs Wade decision was leaked to the public. It is important to note that the right to choose is currently still protected by law and that this is a draft decision from the court. The decision, however, if made official, would overturn the right to choose, protected by the 14th amendment of the constitution under the Roe vs Wade ruling for over 49 years. Erosion of the 14th amendment could then lead to the loss of constitutionally protected rights of individuals including the rights of people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Justice Alito’s draft opinion states, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” This is language similarly used to describe the Korematsu case in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh in the 2020 case Ramos vs Louisiana and echos a similar repudiation of the Korematsu decision in the Muslim Travel Ban case decided in 2018. Unfortunately, despite the court's declaration that the original Korematsu verdict was wrong, it has continued to demonstrate its willingness to declare egregious wrongs and continues to trample on individual rights as it did with the Muslim ban. It is critical, therefore, that the court reassess its problematic past decisions to ensure that future declarations are spared from equally harmful abridgments of personal freedom.
This decision comes after many other state-level attacks on the right to choose such as the Texas law that went into effect in September of last year that placed a cash bounty on the heads of doctors that performed abortions after six weeks, which is often before a person even realizes that they are pregnant. Lawmakers in Missouri considered legislation that would allow individuals to sue anyone who aided a person in crossing state lines for an abortion.
The JACL once again reaffirms its commitment to reproductive freedom and the right to choose whether and when to become a parent. JACL highlights that it was 30 years ago that our National Council officially adopted a resolution, titled Family Choice, at the 1992 convention supporting a person’s right “to choose and determine the course of their lives.” JACL also calls on our elected representatives to pass legislation protecting the right to choose immediately instead of holding out on fundamental rights in order to have more talking points during upcoming election campaigns.
JACL executive director David Inoue states, “The language of this draft decision from the court is especially troubling for the implications it will have on the potential infringement of other individual rights. We cannot be a United States of America if not everyone in our nation holds the same rights. History has demonstrated that we cannot leave fundamental human rights to the jurisdiction of the states."